Embossed Mini Canvas Magnets

We’re going to take a break from the Presser Foot Series because I’ve not had a chance to do some of the projects I need to do to show you how some of the feet work, but we will pick it back up in the near future.

But I do have a project for you all, and I looooove this one! Okay, you guys – embossing powder. I had never used it, although it always looked interesting to me. But I’m not much of a scrapbooker, and I’m more of a use-what-you’ve-got occasional card maker, so I never really had a good reason to justify buying the supplies.

But THEN…

an old friend asked me to make some cute travel pillow cases for her girls, and when I went to her house to drop them off she was doing a major pare down on her scrapbooking supplies. And right there in the middle of it all was a heat gun and several jars of embossing powder! So I came home with a new toy, and ever since then it’s been EMBOSS ALL THE THINGS!

Well, I had these little canvases left over from Taylor’s birthday party. And Hobby Lobby had a bunch more in black on crazy low clearance, so I grabbed a few packs. Last night I sat down with my embossing powders, heat gun, embossing pen, stamps, and pigment ink pads and made these awesome little canvas magnets!

Oh my goodness, SO CUTE! I love them! Taylor did some too. The one that says love is hers.

These are super easy. Just load up the stamp of your choice with pigment ink. It does need to be pigment ink, because otherwise it will dry before you can get the embossing powder to stick. I didn’t know that beforehand, but fortunately I had several pads on hand already. It doesn’t matter what color ink they are, because your embossing powder will cover them, unless you use clear powder, in which case you will want to use ink in the color you want the end result to be. That sentence felt awkward, but you get what I mean.

Anyway, stamp your design onto the canvas. If your canvas is stretched over a frame (some of mine were and some were just wrapped around a little board), you may want to rub the canvas from behind to make sure the stamp design fully transfers.

Once your design is on the canvas, lay the canvas on a sheet of paper, then sprinkle on your embossing powder, making sure to cover the whole design. Then shake the excess off onto the paper, and use the paper to funnel the excess back into the jar to use next time. You can gently tap the canvas on the table if there are clumps, and you can brush off any extra that didn’t fall off with a small paintbrush. It will also help the powder to only stick to the ink if you rub your canvas ahead of time with a dryer sheet.

Now comes the magic. Turn your heat gun on and aim it at your design, a few inches away. Pretty soon you’ll see the embossing powder start to melt, and when you do, start moving the gun over the whole design. You just want to leave it on there long enough to melt the powder. So much fun!

Look how shiny it turned!

You can even go back and add a second layer of embossing just so long as you’re careful not to burn the design.

Just stick a magnet or two on the back using E6000 or even your glue gun and you’re done!

I love these so much!

Next time I have any sort of crafty get together we are definitely doing these. Happy embossing!

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Presser Foot Series: Rolled Hem Foot

Today we’re talking about the rolled hem foot.

A rolled hem foot is specially designed to help you achieve tiny neat hemlines on lightweight fabrics. As you can see, there is a little spiral guide on the foot.

This is to tuck your fabric edge into a neat fold just before it goes under the needle.

You will see this hem on things like napkins, bandanas, and formal dresses in satins or chiffons. This size of hem is very hard to achieve neatly with simple pressing because it is so small. And many of the fabrics it is appropriate on are not able to be ironed or pressed.

My girl Taylor came home with a few new maxi dresses from Nanny and Papaw a few days ago. They were all so cute on her, but all but one were way too long. Enter the rolled hem foot!

This dress was made from super stretchy knit, so I was a little nervous about how the rolled hem foot would handle it. Fabric like this can have a tendency to get sucked down into your machine with a standard zigzag foot. There was no need to worry though – it handled it wonderfully! Now if this were not a maxi dress you would probably want to go with something more stretch friendly like a three step zigzag or a double needle stitch. But because the hemline has such freedom of movement this was perfect.

I cut the dress off just 1/4 inch longer than I wanted the final length to be. Then I hemmed the raw edge of the piece I cut off to make sure the fabric would work with the foot. It turned out great, so I started on the dress.

It can be a little fiddly to get your seam started, especially on a closed hem like a dress, so I recommend starting near a side seam if possible. Slide the edge of your fabric up and into the spiral guide. It will help keep it feeding in neatly if you hold the edge folded a bit over the left side of the foot.

Your needle needs to be in the center position, and you want to start with a slow speed and remain there until you are comfortable going a bit faster. It’s important to keep your seam folded up as it goes into the foot. Keep your hand on the fabric to keep it from shifting and pulling out of the guide.

Look how pretty that hem is!

Two important tips to remember: make sure that the edge you are hemming is a smooth one. Look it over before hemming and make sure you don’t have any jagged spots. The edge you are hemming also needs to be a clean edge. Trim any frayed threads before hemming or they will end up getting rolled into your hem and sticking out from it.

I sewed a few other fabrics to show you how it behaves with them. I’m working on a skirt for Lily using these fun mustache bandanas. But the bottom of the bandanas had this lettering that I wanted to get rid of, so I cut it off and hemmed it. This fabric did particularly well with the rolled hem foot.

This is a strip of satin that shows what happens if you have an uneven or frayed edge.

This is a chiffon that did well, although the shimmery plastic dots fused to the fabric made parts of the hem a little wavy where the dots were part of the seam.

  

This foot did not come with my machine, but it is available at a very reasonable price. Mine came in this kit (not an affiliate link), which is less than $10 including shipping and includes 11 pieces. 
Tomorrow Tuesday we will be talking about the overcasting foot.
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Presser Foot Series: Button Foot


Today we’re going to learn how to use our machine to sew on a button. Admittedly, it’s not very hard to sew a button on by hand. But it is kind of a pain in the butt. At least to me it is. So if I can use my machine to do it, I’m happy to do so.

So this is really easy. First grab your button foot, which looks like this:

Pop it on your machine and grab the button you’re going to use. Now measure between the holes of your button. What you’re looking for is the distance in millimeters. 

Now set your stitch on your machine. It should look something like this:

Now follow your manual’s instruction to change your stitch width. For this project I set my width to 4.5 mm, the largest my machine will accommodate. Now place your button under your presser foot, with the holes between the prongs of the foot. Now manually move your flywheel to lower the needle slowly to check and make sure it is landing in one of the holes in the button. When you have the button position correct, start sewing. Your machine should stop automatically when the button is sewn on.

When you are finished, pull the loose thread(s) through the holes in the button to the back and tie in a knot to keep it from unraveling. 
And now we’re all done! I found that my case, like Cheri’s, will hold a slim wipes case and 3-4 size 3 diapers. 

Tomorrow we will explore the rolled hem foot.

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Presser Foot Series: Automatic Buttonhole Foot

Today we’re going to put the buttonhole on our diaper clutch using an automatic buttonhole foot. This process may be different if you do not have a Brother machine. Refer to your manual if you have a different brand.

This sewing foot looks nothing like most sewing feet. In fact, I was super intimidated by mine, and I never even tried it until I found a great video showing how to use it over at Simple Simon and Co. If you’re more of a video person, check it out here (by the way, they’re totally my sewing heroes!). They also have a video showing how to use a Bernina buttonhole foot. But if you’re more of a written tutorial type of person, keep reading!

This little foot really does take all the work out of buttonholes for you. Whether you use a foot pedal or have a push button start/stop, the machine will sew the buttonhole and stop automatically when it’s done.
First you want to choose your button. I decided to go with this vintage white rectangle one. Place it on your project where you want it to lie when it’s inserted into the buttonhole. Use a disappearing fabric marker to mark the top and bottom of the button. If you’re using a button with different sized sides like mine, make sure you’re marking the buttonhole just a little taller than the short sides. Marking this is optional, but I find that it helps me in lining the fabric up with my buttonhole foot, especially since this buttonhole will lie perpendicular to the edge of my fabric.

Connect your dots, hopefully more neatly than me!

Now to set your size on the buttonhole foot. Pull the sliding section of your buttonhole foot all the way open.

Insert your button and push the sliding sides together around it. This determines the length of your buttonhole, so make sure to insert your button as it will be inserted into the buttonhole.

Now snap your foot onto your machine.

Choose your stitch. My machine has several buttonhole options, but I went with the standard square one here.

Now on a Brother you will need to pull down the buttonhole lever, located at the left rear of the machine.

Now line your fabric up. The machine will sew the buttonhole from front to back, so the very end of the mark you made needs to be centered in the middle of the three red marks on your foot. Here I was making a practice buttonhole on a piece of scrap fabric, always a good idea!

Here’s our finished (practice) buttonhole. Now to open it up, you will rip right up the center, between the stitches, with your seam ripper.

One excellent trick I learned from Simple Simon and Co. is to place a pin right at the top of your buttonhole so that you don’t accidentally cut too far with your seam ripper.

Test to make sure your button fits.

When you’ve had enough practice, go ahead and sew the buttonhole on your project.

Looks great! Tomorrow we’ll learn how to use your machine to sew on the button.
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Presser Foot Series: Blind Hem Foot

Welcome to day two of the Presser Foot Series! Today we’re going to learn about the blind hem foot.

This post is going up crazy late in the day/evening, but if you had seen the renegade marshmallow fluff overrunning my house today you would understand.

So, what’s a blind hem foot do? It sews blind hems of course! But what’s a blind hem? Well, have you ever noticed that on dress slacks and skirts, as well as a lot of curtains, there is a definite hem, but there doesn’t seem to be a line of stitching as a result of that hem? Like these sweet curtains at Target I kind of want for our bedroom.

That, my friends, is a blind hem. I had to master this stitch a few weeks ago. I do some light hemming/altering work when the opportunity arises, and a lady at church hired me to hem 5 pairs of dress pants for her daughter. Once you learn how to do it, it’s easy-peasy!

I decided that for today’s tutorial I would make a quick and easy skirt for Lily. I found this fun orange and white polka dot fabric as a remnant at Hobby Lobby a few months ago. I did a couple of small projects with it and had just enough solid yardage left for the skirt. I think my measurements on it ended up being two pieces cut 22 x 15ish.

 This isn’t a skirt tutorial really, so the details of the rest of the skirt construction are going to be quick. Stack your rectangles right sides together and sew up the sides with a straight stitch. Zigzag stitch or otherwise finish the seams.

To create the casing for your elastic, turn the top edge down 1/2 inch and iron in place.

Then turn down another inch and iron in place again. I find that a piece of cardstock marked with lines at 1/4 inch intervals is much easier for me to use than a sliding seam gauge.

We’re going to go ahead and sew the casing to keep the folds in place while we hem the skirt, but we won’t add the elastic till the end. First, topstitch 1/4 inch from the very top. I always do this on skirts because it makes the elastic stand up better and I think looks much more professional. This line of stitching will go all the way around.
Once that’s done, stitch a line 1/4 inch from the bottom of your casing, making sure to leave about 1-2 inches open to feed the elastic into. Backstitch at the beginning and end.
Now for the blind hem! Start by folding your bottom edge up about 1/2 inch and iron in place. You can baste this in place if you’d like. The stitching will be hidden later.
Now fold the bottom edge up again, this time to the length that you want your finished hem to be. I think Lily’s total length ended up right at 12 inches.
Now for the slightly tricky part. But don’t worry, you can do it! Fold the edge the you just folded up, back toward the bottom of the skirt, far enough that about a 1/4 inch of it peeks out past the bottom of the skirt. It’s easier to explain in pictures. I took several to try to give you a good angle on it.

Now, if you’ve not already done so, switch to your blind hem foot. The blind hem foot has a blade that runs right down the middle. This is the guide for where you will want to place the edge of the wrong side out fold , the fold closer to the top of the skirt. The fold that’s peeking out needs to lay on the right side of the blade.

Make sure you have your machine set to your blind hem stitch. It will be the one that looks like this. Make sure you are choosing the one with the points facing this way and not the other way. If the points face the other way it’s an overcasting stitch and will not work here.

Now for the magic. Click the next picture to make it larger if you need to. The arrow is pointing to a little notch in the foot. That’s where the peaks of your stitch are going to land and catch the inside fabric of the skirt. As you sew, you want to go slowly and make sure you’re keeping the fold right against the blade so that the top of those stitches is catching the fabric. If it isn’t catching, you may need to adjust your needle slightly to the left.

Now here’s where I somehow lost my mind and didn’t get a picture of the finished stitch. Um yeah. And by the time I realized it Lily had gleefully confiscated the skirt and was off playing in it. BUT, I had already planned to do the stitch using black thread on scrap fabric so you could see it better, so here’s that picture. See how it just barely catches the edge of the fold?

Also, this may help you to better see how the fold goes.

Anyway, here’s how the outside of the hem looks when you’re finished. See how clean it is?

Here, let’s go in close and hit it with the flash. There’s the stitching! If you had a solid color fabric and matching thread it would be pretty much invisible.

Now a quick tip. If those tiny stitches are showing up a lot bigger/longer, you’re grabbing too much of the fold with the top of your stitch. Try adjusting your needle a little to the right in that situation.
Now to add the elastic and finish up the skirt. I’m going to show you my very favorite crafty thrift store find ever. I got this huge spool of 1/2 inch elastic for $4.99! Best purchase ever! I don’t know how much was on there when it was new, but I’ve made over 30 skirts with it, and I’ve barely dented what was there when I bought it. However much a gross of elastic is, it’s a lot!

The price tag says $11.00, but that was there prior to the thrift store apparently.

Lily’s waist measures 21 inches. I cut exactly that and overlap by about an inch when I sew it together. Grab your handy dandy elastic threader and feed the end of your elastic through the slots.

Then feed it into your casing.

Just keep working it through. I LOVE how effortlessly this tool keeps my elastic from twisting!

You may want to pin your other end to the skirt to keep it from getting pulled through.

When you get the elastic threader all the way through, pull the ends together, then overlap about an inch and zigzag stitch back and forth a couple of time over the ends.

Stretch the waistband of the skirt until the sewn elastic seats itself in the casing and sew your casing closed. Don’t forget to switch back to a straight stitch first!

And here we are all finished!

And now that you know how to do a blind hem stitch, your blind hem foot can enjoy regular rotation on your machine!

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Boutique Bows

As a mom to two girls, I love me some bows! And I love making bows for them. And I’ve made some big crazy complicated ones, but my go to favorite is the basic boutique bow. Now there are tutorials all over Pinterest for how to make these, so I certainly can’t claim this is an original design, but I thought I’d share some tips that I use.

First of all, ribbon. You can use all kinds of ribbon for these, but it’s hard to beat grosgrain. Satin will work, but unless the bows are on the small side, they won’t hold their shape very well. Organza can be a little thin and tends to be hard to seal neatly. And wired will bend into a wonky shape at the first bump.

These are the basic supplies you will need:

Ribbon
Needle and thread
Lighter for sealing
Center Embellishments
Metal Super Clip
Lined Clips
Not shown:scissors, glue gun, ruler

The metal super clips come in a 6 pack. I got mine at Sally Beauty Supply for under $4. (Not an affiliate link) These are the key to making this an easy process.

First cut your ribbon. The narrower the ribbon, the smaller you’re going to want to make your bow. I’ve found that good lengths are as follows:

1.5 inch ribbon – 24 inches
7/8 or 1 inch ribbon – 18 inches
5/8 inch ribbon – 12 inches

You’re going to start by folding your ribbon in a squashed down zigzag pattern and centering it in the clip like this:

Then take your needle and thread and run a long basting stitch from bottom to top.

Remove the clip and pull the thread tight, gathering the ribbon in the center. Wrap the thread around the gathered center 5 or 6 times and tie off in the back.

I like to feed the needle through the tightened thread around the center when tying my knot to make it secure.

Take a minute to straighten out your loops and tails.

Hot glue a gem, button, or other embellishment to the center.

Grab a lined clip. I took the opportunity to make up a few.

Add your glue right to the top of the clip and stick your bow on.

These small ones are great in pairs for pigtails.

If you want, you can notch the tails. Just fold the ends of the ribbon in half and cut a slant starting at the side with the edges and leading up toward the fold.

Be sure to seal your new edges.

The bigger ribbon is a little harder to work with as the zigzag will be taller than your clip, but it’s still manageable.

The biggest thing is to just make sure you don’t sew the top of your clip to the ribbon.

Feed the needle under the clip at the top like so:

I love how this one made a flower in the center!

Don’t you love this red, black, and white dot ribbon? Very Minnie-esqe!

These are quick to make up, and easy to match to an existing outfit!

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Sewing Machine Accessories Pouch

I don’t know about other brands of sewing machines because I’ve only had Brothers, but both of mine came with all the accessories in a flimsy little white vinyl pouch.

That might work for some people, but for me, once I started adding bobbins with different colors of thread, not to mention all my extra sewing feet, the sides started to split pretty quick.

So of course I had to break out my felt and Babyville snaps and whip myself up a new much cuter and sturdier one!

I love this project for several reasons:
1) It’s super quick, like 10 minutes or less (assuming you aren’t also juggling a two year old).
2) It’s cheap, under $1 if you have the snap tool, although you could totally make it with a different fastener if you wanted.
3) It uses two of my favorite crafting materials – printed felt and Babyville snaps.
4) It’s super easy – if you can sew a straight line, you can do this!

 I made my original pouch one evening when I’d had a stressful day and needed to sit down and just create something to decompress. It was such a quick and simple project, and it was just what I needed.

First of all, keep in mind that if you want to store this in the storage compartment in your sewing machine, it needs to be made small enough to fit there. That particular compartment on my machine is missing (grrr!), so that was not an issue for me. I just made mine large enough that I felt it would accommodate all my accessories.

First of all grab a piece of printed felt. I’ve found the best selection at Hobby Lobby, and most pieces are 50¢ without a coupon. For my original pouch I chose a fun chevron print, but for the tutorial I went with this awesome sock monkey felt.

Cut your felt to 12 inches by 5 inches. Or if you want to create two equally sized pouches and your felt is the standard 9 x 12 inches, you can just cut it straight down the middle.

Fold the bottom edge up to about 2 1/2 inches from the top edge,wrong sides together.

At this point I used a small bowl as an edge to round off the corners on the flap, but this is optional. If you choose to do this, you can either trace around the bowl and cut the corners off with scissors or just lay the bowl down and cut around it with a rotary cutter.

If you want to pin the sides before sewing, do so now.

Sew up the sides, stopping at the flap. I just lined my edge up with my presser foot and did a 1/4 inch seam. Because felt doesn’t fray, there’s no need to sew right sides together and flip.

Now for the snap. I chose this baby blue monster set. You will need two backings and one each of the male and female sides.

The pliers come with this handy awl that I also keep handy for piercing leather when I’m making jewelry.

To start, fold your flap down and press the point of the awl into the felt where you want the snaps to go, hard enough to indent the felt, but not hard enough to pierce it.

Then, being careful not to poke it through the back of the pouch, pierce the front of the pouch where you indented it, then the flap.

Working from the inside, insert one of the backings into the hole you just made in the pouch body.

Place your female side onto the stem of the backing sticking out the front of the pouch body.

Slide the whole assembly between the die tray and pressing head of the pliers, making sure to seat the backing into the die tray. Squeeze the pliers closed to set the snap.

Repeat the whole process on the flap, but this time insert the backing into the printed side of the felt, and place the male side of the snap onto the other side of the backing.

Now you have a finished pouch, perfect for all your sewing machine accessories! This one is going to hold crayons and live in the diaper bag.

These would be great for all kinds of things. I can see one of these filled with flash cards in a homeschool classroom, or as a fun way to gift a set of photos.

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Easy Lined Hair Clips

It’s been a busy weekend! My SIL Rachael had her precious baby girl Adelaide Kinsley (don’t you just love the name?) on Thursday. And we’ve had my sweet nephew Max staying with us this weekend as well. So that’s been awesome, but not exactly conducive to crafting and blogging. But I do have a project for you, although it’s a quick one!

Today I’m going to show you how to create a very inexpensive and very effective non-slip grip for your hair clips, as well as a pair of cute lined clips to put it in!
First we will start with the lining. You’re going to need three things for this:
A sheet of craft felt (preferably white)
A roll of non-slip shelf lining from the dollar store
A hot glue gun
Now this shelf liner comes in all kinds of colors, but I usually just use white since it will go with most hair bows (not that you’re really going to see it, but still). Basically you’re gluing the shelf liner to the felt. I set my glue gun on the high temp setting because it gives me a little more time to work with the glue. Just swirl it across the first couple of inches all the way across the top of your felt. I like to then “spread” the lines of glue across the area I’m working with using the side of the glue gun nozzle area. Then lay the shelf liner down on top of it. Even using high temp glue you’re going to want to work quickly.

Now be VERY CAREFUL not to burn yourself here, but give it just a couple of seconds to cool a bit and quickly but lightly pat down the area of the liner that you just laid down to make sure you get a good bond. Your hand will come away looking like this, but it peels off easily. If you have a silicone spatula/spreader, you could also use that to do the patting down.

Just keep doing that all the way down to the bottom of the felt.

Trim off your excess shelf liner, and you have a sheet of non-slip grip big enough to do a ton of hair clips.

Now for lining the clips. I use these clips on all my hair bows. I get them at Sally’s Beauty Supply for a little under $6 for a box of 100 clips. If you don’t have the club card they’re a little more. But the club card is totally worth it. It’s $5 a year, and when you sign up (at least if you do it in an actual store), they give you a $5 coupon good off your next visit, so it’s basically free. I’m not affiliated with Sally’s, but I do really like them.

Anyway, you’re going to need two of these clips, and 3/8 inch grosgrain ribbon. You can use ribbon that’s not grosgrain, but it won’t look quite as nice. Cut your ribbon into 4 1/2 inch strips, one for each clip. Don’t forget to seal the ends with a lighter, Fray Check, or a hot knife/wood burning tool. Please excuse these pictures. They were taken with my phone between corralling two 4 year olds and a 2 year old, so not my best photographic effort. Sorry – it was that or no pictures at all.

Once your ribbon is cut and sealed, you will line the clip. A lot of people line from the inside out, but I like to start on the back. Glue one end of the ribbon to the back of the clip a little above where the prongs start. Ignore the ice cream embellishments in the next few shots. I decided halfway through to use some different ones.

Then turn your clip over and run hot glue almost to the other end of the ribbon. You want to make sure you have room left to grab the end without getting burned.

Wrap the glue covered ribbon around to the front of the clip, making sure to push it into the hinged area with your finger. Again, careful not to burn yourself!

Open up the clip. At this point you can either add glue to the very end of the ribbon, or add the glue to the inside of the clip where the ribbon will be folded onto it.

Carefully fold the ribbon down, making sure all the glue is covered so that you don’t glue your clip closed! If any has oozed out, wipe it away before closing the clip.

Now, cut a piece of your nonslip grip about an inch long and 3/8 of an inch wide. Hold it by the edge so that the felt is facing up. Cover the felt surface with glue. Make sure to cover it all, but it doesn’t need to be a thick layer.

Open your clip, and glue the felt to the inside top, against the ribbon.

Close the clip to get a good bond.

Now for your embellishments. I picked these up on clearance at Hobby Lobby for $1.19 a pack, but you can add anything you like here, a flower, a bow, a fancy button, whatever you have on hand. Decide which end you want the embellishment on and add hot glue.

 
Then just add your embellishment! If you’re gluing these to a big bow, like a boutique bow, then you’re going to want to add glue all the way across the top of the clip before attaching.

The nonslip grip is super cheap to make, and it holds great, even in soft, slippery newborn hair. And it’s easy to add to any clip, even those you already have!

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Crafty Birthday Party: Leather Bows

Next I made leather hair bows. I used the free gift bow template from How About Orange with a small modification. Because I was working with leather instead of paper, I had to lengthen the center strip by about 50% so that it would fit around the rest of the bow. I also printed the template out a little smaller to get a smaller overall bow. I think I used the 4×6 size when printing from Picasa.

I just cut out the pattern pieces and traced around them directly onto the back side of my leather using a ball point pen.

Then I cut out the pieces, being careful to cut just inside the pen line.

I just used my glue gun on the high temp setting, and it seems to be holding up great, especially on the suede ones. I first folded in the ends of the long, main bow piece and glued them to the center.

Then I glued that piece to the shorter back piece with the side with the glued ends facing the back piece.

Before I glued the center piece on, I glued the back piece to a French clip. I found it easiest to first open the French clip and remove the curved tension piece in the center of the clip.


Then I wrapped the center piece around the rest of the bow and the open french clip.

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Then I just reattached the tension piece and closed up the clip. This was SUCH an easy project, and 20 of them came together very quickly. They were a huge hit, and they have such a simple, elegant look. My sisters-in-law loved them just as much as the girls!
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Tomorrow we’ll talk a little about the makeup bags!

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